Phugtal Monastery

Phugtal Monastery or Phuktal Gompa is located in the remote Lungnak Valley in south-eastern Zanskar,Ladakh Northern India. the name Phugtal means 'the cave of leisure. It is one of the only Buddhist monasteries in Ladakh that can still be reached only by foot. Supplies to the Phugtal Gompa are brought on horses and donkeys in the Summer months, and in the frozen winters, they are transported through the frozen Zanskar River. The Phuktal Gompa owes its legacy to powerful and renowned scholars and teachers who resided in the cave, around which the monastery has been built, and has for long been a place for retreat, learning, meditation, and teaching. The Phugtal Monastery is also very famous for trek lovers due to its amazing trekking route. It is a walk from Dorzang, the end of the road leading from Padum. It is home to about 70 monks.


The Phugtal Gompa is believed to have been visited by numerous sages, scholars, translators, and monks around 2,550 years ago. The remote location of the Phugtal Monastery was ideal of the monks looking for peace and solitude to meditate. The present Phugtal Monastery, of the Gelugpa sect of Tibetan Buddhism, was established in the early 15th century by Jangsem Sherap Zangpo, a disciple of Je Tsongkhapa. Tsongkhapa was the founder of Gelugpa, which is one of the newest schools of Tibetan Buddhism. It is believed to be one of the earliest residents of the cave are the 16 Arhats, or the legendary followers of Buddha. In the Cave images of 16 Arhats appear on the walls. The great scholars and translators Padmasambhava (known as Second Buddha) and Phakspa Nestan Dusdan are believed to have lived in the cave, and so is the great leader and translator Lama Marpa Lotsawa. In the 12th century the Tibetan translator Lotsawa Phagpa Sherab also lived and worked from Phugtal. There is a stone tablet in the monastery which serves as a reminder of the stay of Alexander Csoma de Korös at Phuktal, while he worked on the first English-Tibetan dictionary between 1826 and 1827, when he explored Ladakh first time..

Festivals and Rituals

Festivals are an important part of the Phugtal Monastery.There are an moment for the monks to interact with the villagers and for the people to visit the monastery. Monlam Chenmo : Monlam Chenmo is the most important Tibetan Buddhist celebration of the year, and signifies the start of the New Year. Special puja are held for the world peace and wellbeing of all people. Chudsum Chodpa: This festival is held right after the Monlam Chenmo. It is held to worship thirteen special deities. Chonga Chodpa: It is a festival of harvest ceremony. monks create a special torma, which is a statue made of barley flour and butter, and is worshipped by villagers. Gyalwe Jabstan: Held after the Chonga Chodpa, this festival involves a puja for the long life of His Holiness The 14th Dalai Lama. Galdan Namchot: The Galdan Namchot is a Lightning Ceremony is held on 25th in the tenth month of the Tibetan calendar to mark the death anniversary of Je Tsongkhapa, the founder of the Gelug branch of Tibetan Buddhism. Phugtal Gutor: Held towards the end of February, and before the Monlam Chanmo, this festival is one of the most important festivals at Phugtal Monastery. It signals the end of the Tibetan year, and is held for world peace,harmony and wellbeing of people